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Knee/ankle issue during pointe work

Guest full of grace and truth

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Guest full of grace and truth

Hi Mods, Moms and Dads!


It's been a while! I've been reading a lot, but not posting. Hope everyone is settling comfortably into their fall schedules.


A little background first. DD is 11.5. She takes 4 technique classes each week, each class is 2 hours long, the last 10-20 minutes of class is pointe work. DD has been on pointe for about a year. DD also has rehearsals on Saturdays, 3 hours each Saturday for Nutcracker. No parts on pointe, thank goodness...


My issue is with DD's pointe work, which I took some time to observe closely last night at the studio. I have no background whatsoever in ballet, so I'll just tell you what I saw. When DD is up on pointe and fully over on the platform of her shoe, her knees appear to be slightly bent. Conversely, when her knees are straight, she appears to have a problem getting all the way over on her pointe shoes. Vey subtle...the knees are ALMOST straight or she's ALMOST completely on the platform of the shoes. We both understand, though, that "almost" is not good enough, aesthetically or physically. I hope I have painted a clear enough picture.


DD has historically had some trouble getting all the way up on pointe; very close but not completely there, especially on the left. DD and I together filled out a pointe shoe form for Ms. Devor, and she kindly recommended 3 different shoes: Capezio Plie I, Chacott VeroneseII and Gamba 93. I printed out Ms. Devor's recommendations and brought them along to DD's pointe shoe fitting. The fitter looked at the form, looked at me like the interfering mother she thought I was, and handed it back to me without much comment! So, DD ended up in a Grishko 2007. I don't have the sense that it's been the best shoe for her; not terrible, not great.


I don't mean to suggest that it's only the pointe shoes that are the culprit here. I think there are also issues with flexibility, but with what joint...Knees? Ankles? Both? Other? I do know her hamstrings are quite tight. I also notice she's more successful at the barre that in the center...perhaps some issues with core strength?


Has anyone observed anything like this and are there any recommendations? DD is getting frustrated and I'm worried about her getting hurt. Does this situation warrant taking her off pointe to build strength and/or flexibility?


I would SO appreciate feeling like we're not the only ones dealing with this! And I would deeply appreciate any advice.


Sorry for the long story!


Peace to you all,


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  • Administrators

Grace, this is a dilemma, because, in my opinion, the problems most likely began when she was placed in pointe shoes before she was ready.


At 11.5, she could be ready for pointe work, at the barre, but, since we can't see her, it's impossible to know why she cannot get both all the way up AND straighten the knees. She may not have enough ankle flexibility, she may have the kind of knees that do not straighten all the way, or it could be that she is just physically not yet strong enough.


I can't tell you what to do about it beyond discussing it with her teacher and getting her thoughts on why the child is struggling.

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Guest full of grace and truth

Thank you so much for your advice, Ms. Leigh.


It took a lot of courage for me to state the age that my DD started pointe because I knew in my heart what your reply would be. Oh, if only I'd had BTFD a year ago! Hindsight is 20/20. I think there are many parents, me included, who have no experience in the ballet world, who have limited time to research, who just simply trust their DKs instructors and follow their advice. I'm certain DD's instructors deemed her ready for pointe; but wish I'd had the mind to research more thoroughly.


I let DD read your reply. She is distressed, but we both understand the need talk with her teachers and figure out how to best proceed. We'll keep you posted!


Warm Regards,


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